The "Santa Clara 49ers" Closer Than It Appears

Joseph Hawkes-BeamonContributor IJune 11, 2009

For years, the San Francisco 49ers have wanted a brand new stadium built in San Francisco to replace prehistoric Candlestick Park. Now the 49ers seem to be heading South down Highway 101.

The 49ers and the City of Santa Clara have agreed on a term sheet for a new state-of-the-art $937 million stadium that will become the new home for the team.

In building the new stadium in Santa Clara, the 49ers and the City of Santa Clara will provide $141 million in new funding to the Santa Clara Unified School District over a 15-year period. The school district can use the funds at their discretion on projects benefiting the community, like reducing classroom size and maintaining and attracting the best teachers.

A recent economic impact report conducted by Conventions, Sports, and Leisure International indicates that the facility could create a total of 2,230 jobs and $249 million in economic activity in the region.

The stadium with be publicly owned by a Stadium Authority, and the City of Santa Clara will retain ownership rights on the stadium's land. The agreement must be approved by the Santa Clara City Council and a vote by the citizens of Santa Clara before the project can move forward.

"After years of hard work, we're pleased to have reached an agreement with the City staff," said 49ers president John York.

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"The stadium will make Santa Clara an even better place to live, work, and play. Not only will this provide a world-class facility for our fans, it will also create an economic engine generating jobs and stimulus for local businesses. It's been a successful collaboration with the City of Santa Clara, resulting in an agreement that provides the City with a significant return on its investment. We look forward with them on the next steps."

Even though the ink is still wet on the term sheet, York sounds as if the 49ers have their bags packed with the City of San Francisco in the rear view mirror. Are the 49ers faithful ready to call their beloved San Francisco 49ers the "Santa Clara 49ers?"

"Not at all," said long-time 49ers fan Markus Joseph. "The team is called the San Francisco 49ers because they play in San Francisco. If they move down to Santa Clara, I'm still going to call them the San Francisco 49ers because that is the team that I know!"

If the 49ers break ground on a new stadium in the City of Santa Clara and relocate there, they would join teams like the Dallas Cowboys and both the New York Giants and New York Jets that don't play in their host cities.

The Cowboys have never called the City of Dallas home, playing at Texas Stadium in nearby Irving for 37 years. The Cowboys will move into a brand new $1.1 billion Texas Stadium in Arlington, TX this upcoming year.

Both the Giants and Jets have made Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ their home for the past 32 years, and will continue to call East Rutherford home when they move into the new Giants Stadium in 2010.

The 49ers have called the City of San Francisco home for 60 years.

For the City of Santa Clara, bringing the 49ers there would be a huge boost for the region but the citizens want their voices to be heard.

"The citizens of Santa Clara have told us that a public vote is important to them, and we will abide by the will of the voters," York said. "Based on the new jobs, new funding for local schools and the economic impact the stadium will bring to the City, we're confident this project will be successful at the ballot-box."


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